On October 11, during their 2016 Annual Council, the General Conference Executive Committee voted to approve a document titled “Unity in Mission: Procedures in Church Reconciliation.” After a lengthy discussion from the floor, the document was accepted by a vote of 169 to 122.
The three-page document establishes procedures for dealing with an administrative body that fails to follow “biblical principles as expressed in the Fundamental Beliefs, voted actions, or working policies of the Church.” The passing of the document is controversial, not only because of its content but also because policies already exist that establish procedures for dealing with administrative bodies that are suspected of “being in apostasy, or that . . . refuses to operate in harmony with denominational policies and constitutional requirements, and is in rebellion.” Many in opposition to the new policy also argue that the language used in the document seems to elevate policy to the same level of importance as the church’s fundamentally held beliefs.
In an effort to keep you informed, links are provided below for existing policies, the newly voted document, responses by church entities and supplemental material Iowa-Missouri Conference leadership has determined relevant to the topic.
Update – Apr. 9, 2017: The Iowa-Missouri Conference Executive Committee approved a response to the “Unity in Mission” document. The response has been added to the links below.
Existing GC Working Policy
Document Approved Oct. 11, 2016
- Unity in Mission: Procedures in Church Reconciliation (10/6/16 edition) – 3 pages
- A Study of Church Governance and Unity (Initial Draft) – 54 pages
- Summary of A Study of Church Governance and Unity (Summary of Initial Draft) – 17 pages
Responses to Voted Document
- NAD Statement on GC Vote on “Unity in Mission” Document
- An Open Letter from Dan Jackson to Female Pastors in the North American Division
- Video: NAD President Addresses Church in North America Regarding “Unity in Mission” Document
- NAD Union Presidents Respond with Joint Statement on Unity
- Andrews University Theological Seminary Response to Governance and Unity Documents
- Loma Linda School of Religion Response to Governance and Unity Documents
- Norwegian Union Response to Governance and Unity Document
- Mid-America Union Response to “Unity in Mission” Document
- Iowa-Missouri Conference Response to “Unity in Mission” Document
Supplemental Material Relevant to Topic
- The Role of Union Conferences in Relation to Higher Authorities (George Knight)
- The Antiorganizational People Organize in Spite of Themselves (George Knight)
- Perspective: Does the General Conference Have Authority (Gary Patterson)
- Six Points on the Ordination of Women Issue (Gary Patterson)
- Who Runs the Church (Gerry Chudleigh)
- Analysis: The Use of General Conference Working Policy in the Case of Unions That Ordain Women (Michell Tyner)
- Church Manual Updated After Inadvertent Omission
- ANN Article: Ted Wilson’s Facebook Q&A Regarding Church Policy and Kingly Authority
- Ted Wilson’s Facebook Q&A Regarding Ellen White’s Ministerial Credentials